Google’s next generation analytics platform Google Analytics 4 or GA4 is already making a major shift in data collection, storing and filtering strategies. In this post by TechindiaSoftware, you will learn the basics of GA4 and what is assures businesses and marketers. You will also understand how to adopt this new analytics platform.

GA4 is configured to draw from the different important components of the Google ecosystem to provide a proven support with the evolving marketing needs of our times. Backed by machine learning technology at its core construction, GA4 can provide access to advanced intelligence, predictive analytical capabilities and reporting tools. It is ability to integrate the web and app analytics to track customer’s journey across platforms and devices is a very useful feature to gain crucially important data. More than anything, GA4 is a big step forward to move to a future free of cookies and identifiers.

Since the earlier versions like Universal Analytics and Universal Analytics 360 will stop processing new data from 1 July 2023 and 1 October 2023 respectively, it is important that you set up your new GA4 property and run it in parallel to Universal Analytics with the help of dual tagging so that you gain familiarity with GA4 in the meantime and can gather historical data before migrating to GA4 in due course.

About Google Analytics 4
GA4 or Google Analytics 4 is the latest version of Google Analytics or Universal Analytics. In the first palce, you must understand that GA4 is not an update to the existing product. On the other hand, it is a new and standalone model as an analytical tool.

GA4 employs revolutionary strategies for data collection, storage and filtering. Hence, businesses can highly benefit by installing this platform well in advance to gather historical data from GA4 before making the shift from Universal Analytics.

What is so attractive about GA4
When it comes to providing an advanced support with modern marketing needs, GA4 heavily draws from the different components of the Google ecosystem. We can say it is a big leap towards landing on a cookie and identifier free future. Also, it marks a major move towards mass adoption of machine learning for digital marketing.

Improvised features of Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Event tracking rather than session tracking
At present, Google Analytics tracks a session or activity over a given time frame. GA4 on the other hand will tie up all the interactions or events to the user. Google says, “Events can collect and send pieces of information that more fully specify the action the user took or add further context to the event or user. The benefit is a more customer centric approach to tracking, prioritizing people over sessions, which will provide greater insight and help optimize the user experience.”

Capturing high volume interactions through enhanced measurements
According to TechindiaSoftware, a new feature known as enhanced measurement can help marketers track the common user actions without having to update to website tags. Some common actions include file downloads, scrolling, video views, page views, outbound clicks and site search.

This feature benefits by making common events tracking an easy and straight forward task than what you can set up. Especially this will help small and medium businesses that work with small digital teams and hence have to outsource the tasks like tag management.

Tracking across devices
Tracking the users across multiple devices has become a big challenge for marketers since cross-channel and cross-device experiences have rather become very common.

GA4 can accomplish this with the help of signed-in data from Google and also from your own data gathered from signed-in experiences. With regard to the users signed in to Google on their browsers or on different Google platforms, we can get a highly detailed view of their customer journey. Similar is the case with brands that provide desktop experience and signed-in app experience. This first party data will be now unified in GA4.
This data will prove highly useful in optimizing the customer journey and also enhance the performance of advertisements in a way aligning with our business goals.

No more channel grouping
Most marketers depend on custom channel groups to measure and optimize the performance of channel.
GA4 is all set to make the medium the new standard and so we will have to bid good bye to channel groupings. However, you can always go to Traffic Acquisition and change the default filter from to source from medium. Marketers will have to henceforth adopt a disciplined approach to using the UTM for any media.

Machine learning capabilities for insightful predictions
Machine Learning (ML) is said to be the future of analytics. It employs big data for identifying the trends and making recommendations. Usually this is something that is leveraged only by large businesses. GA4 is now backed with machine learning and. By playing with this functionality, marketers and businesses can get a better idea of what it can assure for businesses of different sizes.

What GA4 promises businesses
We find GA4 a huge shift in analytics that is characterized by a steep learning curve. Therefore, the industry has to be proactive in understanding the capabilities and features of GA4 thoroughly before it finally takes the complete control of the analytics scene very soon.

Most importantly, know that GA4 is not just an upgrade to the analytics property presently businesses are using. It is in fact a new data model. Hence, you have to preserve the historical data in Universal analytics by setting up a new GA 4 property that can run parallel. This can be done by setting up dual tracking.

By adopting dual tracking strategy, you will be able to enjoy a hold on historical data while having your own time to learn and adjust to the new reporting interface. You can also keep track of the missing reports and data and check the new features that Google might be adding in the coming months. You will also be in an advantageous position with regard to collecting historical data within GA4.

Take Away
While depending on analytical tools to further your business or marketing prospects, TechindiaSoftware recommends that you need to be proactive in setting up a new GA4 analytical property. However, you may continue using Universal Analytics as the official reporting tool when you will be preparing for the migration to GA4.